Is Blockchain Creating a New Generation of Developers?
Are we upon a revolution or the next stage in evolution? That’s the question to ask yourself as you confront your existential relationship with blockchain.
If we updated our relationship with computer programming on Facebook, we would most certainly select: It’s complicated.
The history of computers and programming language is quite murky — leaving the who, what, when, and where unclear. And blockchain is part of that legacy.
The history of computers is ancient and ever-evolving, thus it is hardly surprising that we are amidst the next generation of digital evolution with blockchain. And it’s going to take a psychological shift to adjust to this next generation of programming disguised as a new system.
Some scholars such as Derek de Solla Price, the late Yale University professor of history and physics, trace the invention of computers back to the Antikythera Mechanism, a 2000-year-old rusty machine that a fisherman happened upon while he was just out fishing off the coast of Greece at the turn of the 20th century.
While other historians debate the origins of the abacus calculating board, some claiming that it is the mother of computation dating back to ancient Mesopotamia while others point to Chinese or the Greeks.
However, others point to the 1943 ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer)— using mathematician and father of artificial intelligence Alan Turing’s computational logic— as the first modern computer.
But if the making of the computer is not complicated enough, then deciding who the first programmer was will throw your head for a spin.
Did Aristotle lay the foundation for developers for creating his infamous logic? Or was it Charles Babbage’s 19th century notes–translated by the one and only Lord Byron’s “legitimate” daughter Ada Lovelace.
Then there is the question of the first computer language, which most will claim was IBM’s invention of Fortran (FORmula TRANslating system) in 1957.
This lack of clarity speaks to a story of frequently shifting paradigms that define how developers approach both the computers they use and the languages they utilize to communicate with them.
A Paradigm Shift for Blockchain Developers
Blockchain technology and the cryptosphere presents developers with a new paradigm—one that is focused almost exclusively on evolving software capabilities, not to mention a shift in mindset.
While the languages they employ remain similar, the field itself has to cope with major changes ahead.
Even the most versatile design philosophies have been based on systems that centralize information in a database or central core which is used to control the entire system — system rendering itself obsolete as it gives way to democratized and decentralized platforms.
This change might appear small on the surface, but it means throwing out, or at least seriously reconsidering many of the core concepts of programming as it works today. Things like databases become outmoded
Hence, developers shifting to blockchain are challenged with finding new ways to deploy the technology while blockchain itself is still evolving and maturing with the passage of time.
And that’s going to take a whole new way of thinking.
Spiral Dynamics of Blockchain and a Shift of Consciousness
It’s difficult to think of changes in programming paradigms as distinct eras when their evolution has a spiral dynamic framework — both in theory and praxis —an important component in business development despite being around for almost 30 years.
While technological predecessors may remain similar to blockchain (e.g., Ethereum’s Solidity, for example, is based on C++ and OOP philosophies), the way they’re implemented will continue to diverge as blockchain evolves.
As better systems emerge and the technology matures, developers will learn to create more flexible, transparent, and secure systems whilst building platforms that promise to disrupt the existing models.
The difference between the old guard of development and the blockchain movement is largely a shift mindset. For starters, transitioning from centralized systems to peer-to-peer networks is going to take time for us to adjust to psychologically when we have grown accustomed to having third-parties involved in our networks.
But the good news is that it isn’t like we threw the “baby out with the bathwater.” To paraphrase the integral theorist Ken Wilber, we transcended old paradigms to include new models of development.
How Blockchain Advances Transparency and Security Across Disciplines
Blockchain’s ledger technology has been a driving force in changing the way applications are built in a variety of sectors. Blockchain’s emphasis on writing code that leaves few loopholes or openings for attack then its predecessors paves the way for better transparency and security across disciplines.
This immutability is both a gift and a curse for developers. On one hand, it guarantees that information is essentially impossible to forge. On the other, however, it means that development must take a longer view and consider each aspect of a program more carefully when developing.
Nevertheless, the new wave of digital transparency in blockchain has snowballed into other industries.
When constructing systems for government, for example, companies like The Bitfury Group put a focus on greater transparency and security by taking advantage of blockchain’s ledger. This allows them to create systems that offer higher functionality while encouraging greater openness. Traditional development methodologies focused on creating a repository of data for governments to trawl through. Now blockchain developers must consider how information will be made available alongside how to protect and defend sensitive blocks on a chain with better security for these traditionally inaccessible places.
Video Game Industry
The video game industry is also seeing a major shift in how development unfolds. In the past, AAA studios created centralized development ecosystems with massive resources, fencing off game engines and other tools for a hefty price. However, new companies like GameProtocol are abandoning this model by hosting a platform that allows anyone to develop games with open source tools. The company’s ecosystem includes a crowdfunding platform as well as free access to development tools. Moreover, it enables users to actively participate in the development process as investors, forging a more collaborative and transparent ecosystem.
By basing their games on blockchain, developers can also take advantage of a more flexible network architecture that provides better connectivity and storage that doesn’t depend on expensive servers and repositories. In a similar way, NetworkUnits is using blockchain development to encourage more open and versatile networks for game hosting, while building a reliable architecture based on the chain.
While Blockchain was built off of the back of existing technology, Blockchain undoubtedly introduces a new way of thinking about development. Blockchain moves us from the trusted central logic that we have been accustomed to in both the economy and computer development and returns us back to the web-like interactions that we experience in our day to day lives. Satoshi Nakamoto’s modus vivendi white paper ultimately sought (re)humanize our financial experience, which has spawned a revolution for peer-to-peer technology across disciplines. It may appear that we have a new technology our hands, but at a closer look, it is just the next phase in digital evolution that expounds upon what we had before — while also teaching us a new way of thinking about how technology can be used in integrated into our lives. Blockchain will certainly not be the last evolution of computer development. The current and future technological advancements will continuously shape the way we work and the way we live.